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LIVE OUTSIDE OF LAODICEA Eltham Baptist 21st October 2012 No.

"Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." Matthew 5:6

Blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty after righteousness. What does this mean? Does God like us to be in a famine with no food and water? Does He take delight in those who are starving to death? Maybe He wants us to fast all the time? What I believe He's saying is that He wants us to put ourselves in the place where we are needing Him desperately, where we are hungry and thirsty for Him. Have you ever been really hungry? Have you ever been on a prolonged fast? If you have you'll know that you can't stop thinking about food, your whole body is craving for it. Even hats look like meat pies and you can't stand all those advertisements on TV about food. You'd never be watching Master Chef either, it would be torture. When you fast you don't have any food and you want it badly. God wants us to be in the place where we want Him and the things of God with a passion just like the desire for food when we fast. We humans love to be in a comfortable place all the time and this is one of the reasons why we don't like fasting. We don't like feeling uncomfortable or hungry. We know we are not going to die but we just feel that craving for those creature comforts. The trouble with this generation is that we have so many opportunities to get into a place where we don't need God anymore. We'd love to win lotto so that all our money problems would be over, but the trouble is we would not need God so much anymore. We wouldn't need to ask Him for help anymore as we'd have enough. As humans we want everything sorted in all areas so that we would be more comfortable, financially, socially and materially. We don't like having to depend on God for everything but He wants us too. It's good to hunger and rely on God. It's good to cry out to Him for help. Have you noticed that rich and 'wise' people don't do that? It's good to be in a place where we are weak for then we can trust in His strength.
"Let the weak say, "I am strong!" Joel 3:10 "Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised thingsand the things that are notto nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him." 1 Corinthians:1:26-29

I was sharing with a minister the other day about a time when I gave away my car as 'seed faith' before going to Bible College and how my faith was sorely tried. Eventually God came through with a far better car than before and multiplied it three times over. I could see that minister thought I was being foolish to do such a thing. I didn't need to do it for I could have just kept the car or saved up for a better one, but not only did I get another car but I gave one away to a needy person as well, and my faith in God grew. It was an uncomfortable place to be in for awhile and all I had were the promises of God to hang on to. I enjoy putting myself in a place where I really have to exercise faith and depend on Him with the possibility of failing. Woodrow Wilson once said, "I would rather fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed, than succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail." To the world it may seem as if you have failed but all we do for Christ, works out for our good. So many ministers play it safe, not wanting to lose face or appear foolish before their people. The trouble is when we play things safe all the time we keep out of the land where miracles can take place. We have all our bases covered so that we shut out God, our miracle working God. I believe there is no great reward without a risk involved. We need to do things now and then, where if God doesn't come through for us we are sunk - that's if we want to see more miracles. John Mason once said, "You're like a teabag. You won't know your strength until you get yourself into some hot water." We always try and keep away from hot situations where we have to put our faith on the line. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing. We hate being in that place where we are uncomfortable, in need and hungry, but God says "Blessed are the hungry." God loves us relying on Him.

If you find yourself in that place of need and just moan about it all the time or don't ask and believe God for help, then it is just a waste of time. You are indeed poor and poverty stricken in God's eyes. A friend was telling me of his Pastor who likes to prepare his sermons months in advance. Everything for the year is sorted like ducks in a row. The trouble is you end up just giving information out a lot of the time instead of revelation and if God wants you to say a new thing you wouldn't be ready to do it for you are in your comfort zone. God loves us to stretch, and that is always uncomfortable. We need to stretch ourselves to prophecy, as we are going out into unknown territory. How many people like prophesying? They would rather just give advice than say; "Thus says the Lord." Isn't it better to try in a thing and fail than not to try at all? I love waiting on God for a word each Sunday. Sometimes it only comes at the 11th hour but He has never failed me in over 30 years. "God what are you saying?" "I am hungry, I don't have anything to give, I need to hear from you." You need to pray, read the word and speak in tongues trusting God to give. We are in the Laodicean Age, an age where God is shut out. Rev 3:20
To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of Gods creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarmneither hot nor coldI am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing. But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. " Revelation 3:14-19

The trouble is we are in the Laodicean Age where we say, "I have no need." You may say that you don't have much materially, but compared to previous generations we have never had it so good. God is not against us having an abundance but it's given so that we can give it away to those less privileged. God has blessed us - to give it away. The trouble is the more we have, the less we want to give. (I say this generally) I have often found that the richest Christians give less than the poorest, especially by proportion.
"As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. I tell you the truth, he said, this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on. Luke 21:1-4

The poor widow is a good example. She gave all she had, while those who had lots of money only gave what was convenient for them to give. They too gave to God yet were still comfortable, she was left needing God more than ever. It's good to put ourselves in a place where we really need God to come through, otherwise we will lose out on the deal or be exceeding uncomfortable. Are you extravagant in your giving or are you stingy and mingy? "Blessed are the Hungry." We need to come out from this place where we don't need God, out of Laodicea, for it makes God sick. The Spirit is saying "Come out, depart from these unbelieving attitudes and people."
"Then I heard another voice from heaven say: Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins,.." Revelation 18:4 Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:17 "Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing! Come out from it and be pure, you who carry the vessels of the LORD." Isaiah 52:11

Figures show that out of 90 million people who go to Church in the USA only 3% tithe. 60% of that money comes from those over 65 years of age and the under 30s give only 25%. That doesnt seem to me like these Christians are extravagant givers, but rather those who just give from their leftovers. So many Christians today are living by convenience rather than conviction. They are not yet out of Laodicea, they are not out of that place of comfort. If you want miracles financially, spiritually, materially and physically then you need to hunger and thirst for God. Make yourself hungry by giving away and putting yourself in a place where you need God desperately.